Christmas 2020 wasn’t what most of us would have wanted. Even if we weren’t able to see friends and family in the same way as previous years, there were still the usual opportunities to overindulge.
Whether it was a few too many mince pies, glasses of your favourite Christmas tipple, or polishing off that tin of chocolates you promised would last until New Year, you might be wondering what you’ve got to show for all those extra calories.
The good news is that you don’t need to go to extremes to work it off. In fact, it’s the ideal opportunity to get active with your dog.
Walking is one of the easiest and most relaxing forms of exercise, yet its powerful calorie burning abilities are often overlooked.
To actually burn fat though, you need to pick up just enough speed to make your heart beat faster and increase the rate of your breathing.
Let’s look at an example. If you spend an hour and a half walking your dog every day at a fairly sedate three miles per hour, you will burn between 300 to 500 calories a day, depending on your current weight. The lighter you are, the less you will burn and the heavier you are, the more you will burn.
So long as you’re sticking to your recommended daily calorie intake, this equates to losing somewhere between half a pound (227g) and a pound a week (453g). Within a month you could lose between two to four pounds just through dog walking. Boom!
If a full 90 minutes is too hard to fit into your routine, then two walks of 45 minutes each are just as good. Walking your dog first thing in the morning and then later at night might even be better for you. Early morning walks are a great way to get your metabolism going, setting you up to burn more calories throughout your day.
To really see the pounds fall off, you need to pick up your walking pace.
An hour and a half walking at five miles per hour should result in a burn of 500 to 750 calories. Again, assuming you’re eating sensibly, that’s the equivalent of a pound (453g) to a pound and a half (680g) a week.
It takes a little more effort to walk faster, but your dog will enjoy the extra pace and you’ll get more fresh air than if you were stuck doing gruelling workouts at the gym.
And that’s all there is to it. It really is that simple!
Walking also has numerous other health benefits for both you and your dog. It relieves tension, boosts endorphins for a better mood, creates mental clarity by sparking nerve cells in the brain, helps you to relax, increases vitamin D production, and improves circulation which brings more nutrients and oxygen to your vital organs.
If all that isn’t enough, regular exercise has been shown to increase both your lifespan and that of your dog.
Routine movement also helps keep your dog’s joints lubricated and generally healthy. If your dog has arthritis, walking can even help slow down the degenerative process.
And just as longer walks help you burn some extra calories, it gives your dog the same benefit. A slimline pooch is less likely to suffer from health problems such as diabetes and joint degeneration, so it’s important for him to watch his weight too!
If you’re fit and able, walking is a great form of low impact exercise for you and your canine companion. Not only will it help you to shift that extra Christmas weight but it will improve both your health and your dog’s for the long term.
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